Spoiler alert: Food from a local restaurant will always be better than food from Trader Joe’s. That being said, sometimes you don’t have the funds to eat out and need a delicious, filling meal for a couple of bucks. In this series, we’ll find out if Trader Joe’s rendition of a dish will get the job done or if it will just make you miss the real deal even more.
This week we’re trying two different types of acai bowls, the wildly popular frozen breakfast treat. Can a store-bought acai bowl from the freezer section compete with a fancy acai bowl from a restaurant? We tried both in a side-by-side taste test to find out!
Takeout: Acai Bowl ($10.50 + tax & tip for 6 oz)
Let’s be real: It’s hard to beat fresh fruit. The strawberries, blueberries, and bananas on top were perfectly right. The granola was crunchy. I loved the fact that they used sweetened, shredded coconut. Is it less healthy? Yes. Is it more delicious? Also yes.
Our main issue with this acai bowl was the acai itself. It was bland and had a chalky finish. Can you really give an acai bowl with bad acai a good score?
Trader Joe’s: Trader Joe’s Acai Bowl ($3.99 for 10 oz)
Trader Joe’s acai bowl is very affordable for the portion size. It’s convenient and easy. You can let it thaw overnight in the fridge or you can microwave it for a few 20-second intervals. I was skeptical of the microwave method, but it worked surprisingly well! The texture of the acai is smooth and creamy and the taste is sweet. The granola and coconut are packed separately to keep them nice and crunchy. This didn’t feel like it came from a freezer and went into a microwave.
Unlike most acai bowls from smoothie shops, this does not include sliced banana. This addition would take a little more thought and time and cost you an additional $0.59 or so. It’s not a huge deal, but something to consider. I also found the granola and coconut to taste almost a little savory. I wish they had been sweeter.
Trader Joe’s is the winner! For the price, convenience, and portion size, how could it not be? Then, add in the delicious taste of the acai puree and you definitely have a winner. I might add a drizzle of honey to sweeten it up a little more, but it’s definitely good as is. Save your money and buy this!